Tats - Settlements



The villages ( kendistun ) of the Tats lie in several natural climatic zones. In the northeast of Azerbaijan the Tats live in clustered mountain settlements built on ledges on the slopes of mountains, consisting on the average of 80 to 120 households. Large villages such as Lagich (700 households, 6,000 inhabitants) are rare. On the Apsheron Peninsula settlements are more dispersed. Each village has a mosque, a bath ( hamum ), and a well. A typical farmstead contains a small inner courtyard ( duhundær ); the well-to-do have a garden plot, a vineyard, and a kitchen garden. Around each farmstead runs a wall of natural limestone. Within the courtyard under an awning are an oven ( tænur ) for baking bread and farm buildings (a cattle shed, a chicken coop, a stable); the courtyard also has a well with a small stone basin and a few trees (fig, almond, apricot). In the mountain homesteads there is often no courtyard, although the flat roof of the next house below (on the mountain slope) serves that purpose.

In the mountains the Tat house ( khunæ ) is usually one- or two-storied and constructed of rectangularly formed natural stone and clay mortar. The exterior side of the facade and the interior walls of the house are coated with clay and whitewashed. The roof is flat, with well-packed earthen roofing above which rises the stone chimney of the fireplace. The upper floor of the house is for living, the lower for work. In one of the walls of the living rooms there are niches ( jumækhoudun ) for storing clothes and bedding. Above the niches extend shelves with splendid dishes. The house has a front gallery ( sÿræ ), a type of porch enclosed on all sides. The sÿræ occupies the entire facade, or middle of it, and has a wide entrance. It is illuminated by a small aperture in the ceiling and the door. The houses of the Apsheron area lack a sÿræ; it is replaced by a porch (2-3 meters in width) of stone, which runs along the entire facade of the house. In summer the porch serves as additional accommodations for the family. In the house there is an obligatory guest room. The rooms are lit by an oil lamp ( shirogh ) made of clay. For heating in winter they use a special device, a kÿrsi with a metal brazier, which is widespread in the Near East, Central Asia, and the Far East. There are also fireplaces.


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